Alfa Romeo

Top 7 New Cars of 2015 with Ned Jasper

The end of 2015 is fast approaching so when our newest, and youngest, contributor suggested a rundown of the top new cars of 2015 we said yes! Ned has put together a list of the hottest metal from the past twelve months, so read on to see which one takes the glory.

ESM Top 7 New Cars 2015 Logo

Well, 2015, nobody can deny that it was a big year for ESM. Not only has it recruited its youngest ever member (myself), but also Mr ESM has tied the knot with Mrs ESM. Now as much as I would like to dwell on personal successes, I’m afraid I’ve been beaten to it. So go and have a read of John’s article first.

2015 has been a golden year in automotive terms. Over the past 12 months we’ve seen offerings from across the globe. Some pretty, some fast, some neither of those things, but they’re still exciting none the less. 
What you have before you are ESM’s favourites; the top 5 new cars of the year. Well, actually it’s not; there are seven. After whittling a list of 30+ cars down to just six. Torn between which one to drop I just included them all. Then I remembered about the M4 GTS. So seven it is.

7. Ford Focus RS
2015 Ford Focus RS 001

The Ford Focus RS; infinitely cool, ever practical thanks to its five-door hatch layout, and shockingly fast. This humble hatchback comes complete with 345bhp, a sub 5 second 0-62mph time (that’s 4.7 in case you were wondering) and looks to kill. In a market now mainly dominated by the Germans, this turbo tear-away has allowed the competition to take a step back and reconsider who is boss. This latest incarnation of the RS now features a comprehensive AWD system – just like the RS Cossies of old – the difference, this time, being that it can send up to 70% of torque to the rear tyres. This not only gives new levels of grip and performance but, as you would expect, makes it a lot more fun too. Let’s face it; anyone with even an ounce of petrol running in their veins wants one of these on their driveway. And… here comes the better news, they can, with a price of £30,000, it really is an every man’s car. We’ll take ours in Nitrous Blue, thanks.

6. Audi R8
2015 Geneva Audi R8 V10 plus

When creating this latest generation, Audi took what is one of the best sports cars on the market and turned it into a supercar. Gone is the 4.2 V8 of old, in its place is the beating heart of the Lamborghini-derived V10. 
There’s talk of an entry-level turbo V6 at some stage but, for now, were left with that cataclysmic V10 and the supreme V10 Plus. Which are both equally awe worthy. The ‘Plus’ boasts a 602bhp headline figure, a minuscule 3.2 seconds 0-62mph time and what is a rather fetching fixed rear spoiler. The ‘base’ V10 isn’t far off that either, although it sadly lacks the wing. The bigger power, sharpened looks and new tech really set this car off. It should make the perfect gift for millionaire playboys alike.

5. BMW M4 GTS
2015 BMW M4 GTS

The M4 was a bit of a last-minute choice really. The car itself isn’t a huge leap above the standard M4 in terms of performance. Stood beside the supercar royalty of this list it looks a little tame. But there was one factor that clinched it in the end. The looks. This car has served as my laptop wallpaper for the last few months now, and there hasn’t been a moment when I couldn’t stop ogling at it. That combination of dark grey and orange – much like ESM – is something that is so dazzling, so magnificent that it makes this car a true object of desire. The fact that it has 493bhp and can get to 62mph from rest in just 3.7 seconds is simply a bonus. Santa, if you’re reading this, above all else, this one please.

4. Porsche Cayman GT4
2015 Porsche Cayman GT4 001

If you’re looking for the blueprint of a driver’s car then this is it. When creating the GT4, Porsche have basically shoehorned all the best bits from the range into one complete package. Manual gearbox? Tick. Rear drive mid-engined layout? Tick. Tactile steering and exceptional levels of grip? Tick. The GT4 really has everything a keen driver could want. With the main focus of the GT4 set on the twisties, you would expect the car to lack slightly in the outright speed department. That’s where you’re wrong; the GT4 utilises the same flat-six borrowed from the Carrera S. However, mated with the lighter chassis, it allows the hardcore ‘baby’ Porka to spring from 0-62mph in just 4.4 seconds, and keep on accelerating to 183mph. I think it’s safe to say we all want one. (more…)

Friday Photo – Frankfurt 2015 Gallery

This year’s Frankfurt Motor Show proved to be fairly impressive, with a host of big names revealing new products and concepts. Incredibly, this even included cars that hadn’t been previewed in a press release weeks beforehand! Who knew that was still possible? We’ve picked out some of the notable cars making an appearance in Germany. 

2015 Frankfurt

ESM actually spent the first Frankfurt press day helping out the good people at Motoring Research with their live blog. We heartily recommend you go and read it, especially for the Periscope video action from Andrew and Gav. Trust us, you’ll find yourself longing for a special edition Suzuki Jimny or at least learning where not to leave you bag on a motor show stand.

Possibly the biggest talking point of the whole Frankfurt show was the Bentley Bentayga SUV. Promising to be more luxurious than a Range Rover, but with epic performance from a W12 engine, it’s a pretty big deal. To some it’s a step too far for the Bentley brand, and the styling is also equally divisive. However, ESM is pretty sold on it – especially in orange. The Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo is just as mental in real life as in the initial photos – a definite showstopper. Oh, and yes that is a tent on the back of the Citroen Cactus M.

We’d already seen PR photos of the Ferrari 488 Spider, but it’s seemingly even more impressive in the metal. Some even going so far as to say it’s better looking than the GTB coupé. The Hyundai stand was one of contrasts, with the Korean company pushing its new “N” performance sub-brand with the rather mental 2025 Gran Turismo concept, alongside the Santa Fe and i20 Active. Jaguar’s F-Pace stole the pre-show excitement with a Guinness World Record-breaking launch event, whilst the MotoGP-engined Honda 2&4 concept proved to be a winner.

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Guest Post | Ned Jasper | New Alfa Romeo Giulia

In the second article from young blogger Ned Jasper, tonight it’s all about a sensational new four-door Alfa. So, over to Ned:

The Alfa Romeo Giulia: The Answer To All Petrol Heads’ Dreams

If you’ve just bought yourself a new 3 Series or Mercedes C Class, it’s probably best if you look away now. Otherwise, regretful weeping will soon follow.

2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

Alfa Romeo has been out of the executive saloon market for some time now, and its last attempt the 159 was fairly feeble. This time though, Alfa has gone away to Maranello (the hometown of Ferrari and Maserati) and come back with what could quite possibly be the best saloon car ever made. It’s called the Giulia, and it is stunning. Just look at it. It’s cars like this that make you feel like a small child again. The car is jaw dropping to look at. It’s almost like they have shoehorned all the best bits of previous Alfas and put them together to make the perfect package. Alfa have put some serious time into this car too; they have thought about all of te little details. They haven’t over complicated it one bit, in my eyes – and I’m sure you’ll agree – it’s beautiful, like art in motion.

2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio (more…)

Detroit 2015 – Friday Photo Gallery

The 2015 Detroit North American International Auto Show has been a pretty good one, to say the least. We’ve seen two brand new supercars, and a host of other special new models rolled out. It might seem like we’re repeating ourselves, but it really is good to see the US car industry returning to form. Here are our photo highlights from this week:

Ford’s new GT took centre stage at Detroit 2015. Our car of the show.

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Friday Photo #16 – Alfa Romeo 4C

Beauty is, apparently, in the eye of the beholder. So what exactly does that mean for the winner of the ‘Most Beautiful Car of the Year 2013’ award? Who knows, but Alfa Romeo are obviously pleased that their new sportscar picked up this award. 

2014 Alfa Romeo 4C 001

There is no denying that, apart from the rather geeky looking headlights – wrapped in carbon fibre they may be, but they’re still weird – the 4C is a genuinely pretty car. So pretty in fact that the judges at the 29th International Automobile Festival decided it was the best looking car to be launched last year, beating a short-list of the BMW 4-Series Coupé, Mercedes-Benz CLA and the Mazda 3. No, we’re not really sure how that last one sneaked on there either, but then the long-list also included the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Lexus IS300h! So actually, there was only one real contender which probably explains why the 4C took 41% of the votes.

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EngageSportMode’s Favourite Five Fast Estate Cars

Writing recently about the handsome new SEAT Leon ST, and the grunty Focus ST Mountune, has got EngageSportMode thinking about its preferred choice of estate car. There’s something about a sporting station wagon which often makes it more appealing than its saloon brethren. Perhaps it’s the fact it can combine performance and practicality, or maybe it’s the frequently more pleasing shape of a hatchback compared to a boot. Whatever the reason, here are our favourite five estate cars.

1. Audi RS 4 Avant

Audi RS4 Avant 01

It would almost be impossible to put together a list like this without reference to one of Ingolstadt’s finest load-luggers. Since the RS 2 of 1994, co-developed with Porsche, Audi has been churning out fast, effective, estate cars based on the compact A4 model. (more…)

ESM – Goodwood FoS Video Blog #1

As promised, here at the video highlights from EngageSportMode’s weekend at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. I’m no Ron Howard, and was only using either an iPhone or fairly basic digital camera to record these. As such, the quality is not HD, but I feel it does still capture the noise and fury of the GFoS. Due to the unique way WordPress works, the videos are hosted via YouTube. Enjoy; ear defenders advised.

I shot quite a lot of video during Friday’s Michelin Supercar Run. We were down by the start line, which gave a great opportunity to film the cars coming off the line and powering towards the first corner. Here are some of the highlights:

Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport (more…)

I Could Afford That / Classified Dreaming #2

If you’ve somehow managed to avoid all cardshops, department stores or Moonpig adverts recently, then you would’ve missed the fact it was Valentine’s day yesterday. Fortunately I did remember so I’m here to bring forth another installment of I Could Afford That/Classified Dreaming. To perpetuate a very tedious link (for which I apologise profusely) Italy and the Italians are often considered to be very romantic; so this weeks edition has a certain Italiano flavour. So if music be the food of love, lets look at some cheap cars.

I Could Afford That

Finances only extend to Cava not Champagne? Tesco value chocolate over Thornton’s? Fear not, below is an ensemble of vehicles sure to win you affection with the Azzurri.

1998 Alfa Romeo 156 1.8 16v – £1,495

As saloons go, you cannot deny that the 156 is a looker

So the antipasti for today’s menu is this really rather lovely Alfa 156. Along with being an (more…)